Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

April 29, 2013

Rep. Travis Clardy’s weekly Capitol update

AUSTIN — One of the most endearing qualities of mankind is our capacity to unite when times get tough.

The common identity we all share as Texans compels each of us to act with a determined, compassionate resolve. When tragedy strikes, we re-spond because we care and because we have a responsibility to act with goodwill toward our neighbors.

Last week’s explosion in West has emboldened us all to come together in support of this great community and I am proud to be a part of a state that works together in the face of great strife.

I have been in communication with Represent-ative Kacal and Senator Birdwell regarding the state of affairs in West and I firmly believe that the city will soon recover and bounce back strong-er than ever.

To help the victims of the tragedy in West, visit www.WithWest.com to see how you can lend your hand.

In terms of happenings within the Texas House, this was a very successful week for our local issues. The House finally passed H.B. 1247, which allows Nacogdo-ches Memorial Hospital, the largest primary care provider to Cherokee, Nacogdoches, Rusk, San Augustine, and Shelby Counties, the right to hire its own physicians.

This local bill grants our District’s hospital the tools it needs to attract world-class physicians.

I know that my friend, the late Tim Hayward, former chief executive officer of Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital, would be proud and I am so pleased that we can honor his legacy with the passage of this bill.  Above all, Tim wanted doctors to ultimately choose where they wanted to work and to give the hospital essential resources to provide the best care to the region. We can now say that we’re on the road to achieving that great end.

Furthermore, the House passed H.B. 2751, which ensures that an individual who provides labor or assistance to the Texas For-est Service in fighting fires is protected from all civil damages, including personal injury, wrongful death, property damage, death, or other losses resulting from any act, error, or omission by that individual in providing labor or assistance to fight fires.

The last thing we want is to create a situation in which our men and women are discouraged from fighting wildfires for fear of being held liable for accidental damage under inherently dangerous circumstances. House Bill 2751 prevents that situation from ever occurring again in the State of Texas.

Finally, the House passed H.B. 1196, which exempts Cherokee Coun-ty from participating in a state mandated debt collection program. This unf-unded mandate imposed massive costs on the County by requiring it to hire an additional staff person and supply new office space, computers, and equipment without a sufficient increase in debt collections.

This was a case in which the state was hurting rather than helping and it perfectly illustrates just why local control is such an important principle to uphold. We cannot rely on a one-size-fits-all approach if we want to maximize our efficiency and effectiveness. I appreciate Senator Nic-hols’ leadership on this legislation, and for bringing both of these issues to our attention.         

Visit my official member page at: www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/?district=11.

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